The Health Care Debate has consumed our country for the past few months. The House passed a plan earlier this fall, and on Christmas Eve, the Senate passed their version of the health care reform bill. Now the White House is meeting with House and Senate leaders to reconcile differences between the two plans. One issue is now rising to the surface that is causing concern for conservatives--culturally and fiscally.
Martin Vaughn of The Wall Street Journal reports that under the new health care plan married couples could pay thousands of dollars more for the same health care as unmarried couples living together. Those who are not insured by their employer and are married will be at risk for a hike in prices. Vaughn explains,
"For an unmarried couple with income of $25,000 each, combined premiums would be capped at $3,076 per year, under the House bill. If the couple gets married, with a combined income of $50,000, their annual premium cap jumps to $5,160 -- a 'penalty' of $2,084."
This "penalty" opposes free-market principles and is a progressive tax by the government. Beyond that, it discourages marriage and, in fact, encourages cohabitation. If a couple could live together and save $2000 on their health insurance premiums, then what incentive is there to discourage them? In effect, government would be incentivizing cohabitation. Such a penalty could have lasting and penetrating consequences both in civil society and in a free-market economy.